Julianne Hough, Kenny Wormald cut loose for new Footloose

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PHOENIX – A classic story of teen rebellion, “Footloose” is an iconic movie of the ‘80s.

Kevin Bacon originated the character of Ren McCormack, the big-city kid who wanted residents of his new small-town no-dancing-allowed home to know that “this is our time to dance.”

Kenny Wormald took over the role in an updated version of the movie for a new generation.

Julianne Hough of “Dancing With the Stars” plays Ariel, the reverend’s daughter with a wild streak and a desire for more than her small town has to offer.

While fans of the original “Footloose” have been a bit skeptical of this new version, Tara Hitchcock, who adores the 1984 flick, saw it and said she could not stop smiling.

She said as much to Hough and Wormald, who stopped by to chat about the movie.

“What a nice way to pay tribute to the old one, but incorporate some newness,” Hitchcock said.

“That was the plan,” Hough said with a laugh.

Wormald was born in 1984, the same year “Footloose” was released, but had seen it several times growing up.

“I grew up dancing so it’s one of those films you always watch,” he said.

It also was a favorite for Hough.

“I’ve seen the movie hundreds and hundreds of times,” she said. “I knew it really, really well.”

The pair said they were careful not to mimic the original.

“We really felt like we were making our own movie,” Wormald said.

“We really got to make it our own and dig deep into the characters,” Hough agreed.

While this is a new version, the film is filled with things that pay homage to the original movies.

Ren still drives a beat-up yellow VW bug and the scene in which Willard (Chris Penn in 1984, Miles Teller in 2011) learns to dance, for example, is the done to the same song as in the original, “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.”

“Our directors always says, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’ so you can’t touch that one,” Wormald explained.

While Bacon used a stunt double for the “angry dance” in the warehouse, an iconic scene from the original “Footloose,” Wormald, who has been a dancer for 20 years, did his own dancing.

Directed by Craig Brewer, “Footloose” opens Oct. 14. The 1984 version is available on DVD.